Madison filmmaker to honor music icon Clyde Stubblefield in documentary

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 6:48 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2021 at 7:49 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Madison filmmaker is working to make a documentary to preserve the music and legacy of Clyde Stubblefield, a drummer who toured with James Brown before settling in Madison.

For Trevor Banks, Clyde Stubblefield was a family friend, the guy who mentored his dad on the drums. He’d also call the house to see if Trevor’s dad, Joey, wanted to play cards. For the rest of Madison, Clyde was the drummer every musician in town wanted to play with.

In recent years, there have been efforts to keep Clyde’s name in Madison alive through scholarships. Now, Banks is trying to use his role as a documentary filmmaker to solidify Clyde’s name with a broader audience.

Stubblefield was a fixture of the Madison music scene for over four decades, after spending six years traveling around the world drumming and recording with James Brown.

In the music world, the man known as the “Funky Drummer” dropped the beats for some of the Godfather of Soul’s greatest hits. Those beats made James Brown a lot of money. His beats have been sampled by a wide variety of artists, including Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, and Prince.

Banks explained that Clyde’s impact on music was on a global spectrum.

“He has his fingerprint on so much, from early funk music that he helped pioneer with James Brown, eventually becoming a cornerstone of hip hop through sampling, DJ culture, B Boy culture. hip hop culture, and that even transcended to dance music, electronic music, and pop music.

The Funky Drummer is widely considered to be one of the most sampled artists ever. However, he never saw a dime of the money, thanks to the Wild West nature of sampling in the ’80s and ’90s hip hop music.

For Banks, it’s not about the money. It’s about honoring Clyde’s name, which is what his documentary “Give the Drummer Some” will be all about.

“At this point in time with Clyde not around, I think it’s imperative, whether people need to know or want to know, I think it’s important that they do know what Clyde contributed,” said Banks. “Especially the people who are reaping the benefits of the fruits of his labor. The people who love hip hop. The people who love James Brown.”

During live shows, Give The Drummer Some was James Brown’s way of getting the audience to acknowledge the man behind the kit. To Banks, it’s what Madison did for Clyde for more than 40 years.

“I look at Madison and their embracement of Clyde as a microcosm for how I wish the world embraced him,” said Banks. “Madison supported him, championed him. Everyone wanted to work with him. They gave him love. He was a local legend.”

Clyde passed away in 2017 after years of having a kidney disease.

Trevor is currently working on his documentary and launched a Seed and Spark campaign to help fund the project. In the past three weeks, donations have almost doubled his original goal of $10,000. There is a week left to donate.

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